Monday, 15 December 2014

Waiting for this inevitable debacle to end...

Disclaimer: Even though I have used the phrases ‘AKB’ and ‘WOB’ in this post, kindly understand that I mean no offence to any Arsenal supporter. I don’t mean to classify or judge any group based on their stance, it’s just a matter of convenience for me to call someone an “AKB” rather than “a person who backs Arsene Wenger”. You may well be a WOB but not resort to personal abuse towards the manager, for instance.

Before I start this, I selfishly hope I'm not the only person who feels this way.
It's not that I don't love Arsenal anymore. I do. I really do. It seems ludicrous for me to have to justify it to people who have followed my blog. However, since the Stoke game I have been feeling a sense of detachiness from the club. It's hard to explain why, probably because even I don't know the exact reason.

Maybe it's because it's all become too repetitive. Football and Arsenal, when I started watching it, was unpredictable and exciting. There were twists and turns and what-ifs and roller coaster rides and memorable goals and down-in-the-doldrums moments, but they were always consoled by the fact that there was hope to negate the bad times with remarkable moments.

Knowing what I do about the precarious situation at Arsenal FC has made me envy the "Ignorance is bliss" phrase. This limbo phase that the club are currently in is getting hard to enjoy. Sure, the last couple of games were footballistically entertaining. Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Podolski scored some belters. Giroud literally pinballed a cross into the net. Santi Cazorla smiled. That was good.

But, upon comparison to how football has made me feel before, it's not good enough. Nowadays, whenever Arsenal win, my happiness is tempered by the ugly truth that tears await at the end. I don't get especially cheesed off when Arsenal lose as well, because when you think of it, there are no repercussions. There are no stakes. It's going to be a long while until Arsene Wenger faces the tangible consequences of his repeated incompetences.

The blog I wrote after Arsenal won the FA Cup seemed to echo some of these sentiments, even then:

"Amidst all this, I am a bit puzzled. While winning the FA Cup was undoubtedly the best moment of my life, a small part of me felt that it would feel better. I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel the joy that I thought I would. Maybe because it’s tainted by the fact that it seals Wenger’s future at Arsenal, or because I know that the summer to follow is going to be an embarrassment [LOL, look how that turned out!], but I really felt that winning the cup would have signaled greater euphoria from me."

The fanbase has reached a dangerously fickle phase. An Arsenal loss throws them off the fence, but a positive result reels them back in. A lot of Gooners are on the fence right now, but if you gave them the chance to be Stan Kroenke and take the ultimate decision on the fallen legend's future, they would keep him on. Not because most of them believe he's the one to win the club the Premier League again, but because they are fear change and fear making the judgement call.

It's going to take time for the fans to face the truth. I'd imagine they already know most of the reasons why the WOB (apologies for the labelling) say what they have been saying all these years, and on some level maybe they agree. However, it's only respect and love that's holding them from turning their backs on the man they idolized. A year or two of continuous predictable injuries, tactics, transfers and failures may wear that affinity thin.

A few of those fans (myself included) have already reached that phase. We already know most of there is to know about Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, while we watch the others catch up. Even if certain portions of the WOB tend to exaggerate it or communicate it in an unclassy manner, their opinions are accurate in essentials. They, like me, are likelier to feel equally frustrated in this no man's land, this unfinished divorce, this middle of the end.

Waiting for Wenger's removal has taken a lot out of me. You don't get a lot of WOB members where I come from, so it's not easy to vent my feelings aside from this blog. Every time Arsenal win I have to face stupid, redundant affirmations on why Arsene Wenger is a stud and every time Arsenal lose I have to hear the same fans blame the players, but not him. After a while you just get tired of the vicious cycle and think of jacking it all in. However, it speaks volumes of my loyalty that I won't abandon the ship even when it's facing rough waters.

The fans will get there. The board will get there. But until then, here I stand - an immunized, desensitized Arsenal supporter waiting for this ridiculous debate to end the way I know it will, hoping that these talented crop of players Arsenal have keep the patience and stick it out until then.

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]